Finally, Tunisia’s tail spin economy under the leadewrship of Kais Saied gets a break, with cash now coming to help its desperate healthcare system, in return for some good will by Saied relating to the migrant crisis.
Italian PM Giorgia Meloni has pledged $750 million to Tunisia to support the International Monetary Fund bailout, in an announcement on June 7, according to Al-Arabiya News.
The news follows Meloni’s visit to the Presidential Palace in Tunis on June 6, where President Kais Saied welcomed her and praised her honesty on the Tunisian crisis.
Meloni detailed that she plans to open a $748 million line of credit for Tunisia to aid in healthcare and vital services, amidst a medical crisis currently plaguing the country and causing severe medication shortages. Avoiding a full-blown economic crisis in Tunisia is vital, as the country was the birthplace of the Arab Spring and remains a major embarkation point for illegal immigration to Europe. Ensuring the stability of Tunisia for the region is critical.
President Saied has acknowledged that the illegal immigration issue is “worsening by the day and calls for an international dialogue.” He has also made recent comments blaming sub-Saharan migrants for “organ and human trafficking criminal gangs in sub-Saharan Africa and Northern Mediterranean countries” and “the surge in crossings.”
According to FTDES, a Tunisian non-governmental organization, at least 23,091 migrants were intercepted between January and May this year during their attempt to illegally cross the Mediterranean. Additionally, FTDES data also shows that 3,430 Tunisians reached Italy while 534 people died in the attempts.
Saied has faced intense international criticism over his recent efforts to dissolve the judiciary and imprison his political opponents, including Rached Ghannouchi, a prominent political leader of the Ennahda party in Tunisia.
Saied has called for the necessary funding from the IMF in order to lift Tunisia out of economic insecurity and turmoil, but has failed to accomplish the list of reforms that the IMF requires before it will deposit the bailout. The clock is ticking for financial aid as illegal immigration worsens and migrants are now beginning to settle in the Tunisian capital instead of choosing to continue on to Europe.
“The roads no longer lead to Rome alone, they now also lead to Tunis,” Saied said.